Monday, June 25, 2007

Upgrading to Fedora 7 on a machine without cd/dvd

I found the following post by Carson very interesting and promising:

On my main system, I installed F7 via the dvd. A second and third systems do not have a cd/dvd drive.

I decided to use the above instructions; however, I did not wish to install from net online. So, some of the instructions were modified:

On a server with a dvd drive :
1. Use the keep cache option on.
2. There will be a cache/yum/fedora directory. Copy all the rpm files
from the dvd into the /var/cache/yum/fedora/packages directory.
3. Export /var/cache/yum directory using nfs with root no-squash and writeable.
4. On the second machine, mount the above directory. Make suitable changes in the /etc/yum.conf. Automount is very useful.
5. Using rpm, update fedora-release and fedora-release-notes.
6. Run yum update

It will still need a net connection but will use it only when needed.
E.g. what was installed earlier from the extras repository will be downloaded.

In my case, it took much longer than it would have taken me to physically move the dvd drive but that would not have been fun.

One problem which gave me a fair amount of trouble was that I had downloaded stuff from freshrpms and livna. When both repositories were active, I had dependency problems. I enabled livna and disabled freshrpms, the problems were resolved.

An interesting problem was that the new kernel was panicking as it can't find root. Fortunately, the system worked fine with the earlier kernel. Carson had emphasised labels. Applying labels and making appropriate changes is the grub.conf and fstab file resolved even this issue.

A major advantage of the above scheme is that we can upgrade a machine without stopping normal activity. Machine can continue to be used though I am not sure if all applications will work properly during the transition.

And I look forward to a time when a distribution will be continuously evolving - never needing a major, disruptive upgrade.

An interesting comment on the matter of scale:
One of the comments on the above post: "depending on whether you see a 2 hour download as a problem or not :D"

For me even with the so-called broadband, downloading even the extra packages took longer!
Beats me why bsnl and other ISP's do not mirror these sites?

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